Digital Transformation and the Challenges Faced by CIOs

Digital transformation has become a critical aspect for modern enterprises, but it has also presented significant challenges for Chief Information Officers (CIOs). In today’s complex environment, CIOs find themselves dealing with issues such as data sprawl, scattered SaaS applications, poor tracking of purchases and expenses, and difficulties in pinpointing usage.

“The CIO is caught surprised. All of a sudden they have assets they were not responsible for.” – Sundari Mitra, CEO and co-founder of startup Asato

Recognizing the need to address these challenges, Asato, a startup founded by Sundari Mitra, has developed an AI-powered copilot specifically designed for CIOs. This platform aims to discover, connect, and contextualize apps and data across an organization, providing valuable insights and progress tracking.

Asato’s launch is supported by a $7.5 million seed financing round led by Walden Catalyst Ventures’ Lip-Bu Tan. Intel Capital, Shah Capital Partners, and several angel investors are also participating in the funding.

“That is what Asato is trying to do. We really want to make the CIO a superhero.” – Sundari Mitra

The Growing Challenges for CIOs

The number of applications used within enterprises has grown exponentially from an average of eight to a staggering 130 between 2016 and 2022. However, the focus on top-line growth rather than building profit has resulted in tech debt and an unwieldy asset base. CIOs are now held accountable for SaaS and other apps that were initially purchased by different departments using different methods.

Cybersecurity is another concern. CIOs often lack visibility into identifying gaps or vulnerabilities in their infrastructure.

“How do you know where something has happened, where something has not happened? CIOs don’t know what data they are replicating across all these different segments.” – Sundari Mitra

Unexpectedly, the shift to the cloud has not led to cost reduction as initially expected. CIOs struggle to effectively manage hybrid computing environments and tend to focus on the most obvious, highest-expense tools.

This continuous struggle has resulted in constant turnover among CIOs in large companies, with short durations and constant budget constraints.

“With the surge in IT intricacies, including cloud computing, diverse applications and IoT solutions, CIOs face unprecedented challenges, particularly now during a period of spending rationalization.” – David Johnson, Managing Director at Asato backer Intel Capital

The Asato Solution

Asato’s platform, built on the expertise of NetSpeed Systems (a company acquired by Intel), utilizes AI and knowledge graphs to automate the searching, linking, contextualizing, and analysis of IT assets. The platform also orchestrates decisions and tracks outcomes.

“We have generative AI that helps close loops so that you can learn and track outcomes.” – Sundari Mitra

The platform enables CIOs to gain deeper insights through its ability to track decisions and outcomes. Asato’s technology combines FinOps, SaaS management, and analytics to provide comprehensive visibility into an organization’s assets and dependencies.

“It is surfacing what you really own, the dependencies among them, which is your super node, what is in the fringes that very few people use.” – Sundari Mitra

David Johnson from Intel Capital emphasizes the empowering impact of Asato’s platform on CIOs in managing complex infrastructures. He positions Asato as a pivotal player in enhancing the effectiveness and adaptability of CIOs.

“In this dynamic environment where adaptability and efficiency are paramount, Asato’s platform plays a pivotal role in enhancing the effectiveness of CIOs in managing hyper-complex infrastructures.” – David Johnson

The Birth of Asato

Mitra’s experiences at large organizations, such as Intel, highlighted the challenges faced by CIOs in managing both complex system-on-chip products and enterprise IT. These experiences led to the creation of Asato, with the goal of providing a system that connects assets and provides insights to help with decision-making.

“It was difficult for me to make decisions fast and track the outcomes of my decisions. I did not have a system of connecting all assets and gaining insights by connecting information present inside the company infrastructure.” – Sundari Mitra

Intel Capital, which was an early investor in NetSpeed, recognized the potential of the Asato team and their disruptive technology. They have been closely involved in the development and growth of Asato.

“Asato is a true game changer for CIOs. By leveraging AI techniques and insights, it offers a distinctive approach to searching, linking, and contextualizing all IT assets and users within an enterprise.” – David Johnson

Asato aims to focus initially on the CIO role but plans to expand its platform to support other roles in the future.

“The CIO needs to understand the business of running their IT operations. A CIO will win if they save money.” – Sundari Mitra

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